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Contact: Donna Giberti,
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Independence House, Inc.
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Lysetta Hurge-Putnam to Receive MOVA Victim Rights Honors and is Voted President Elect of the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

February 18, 2016, Hyannis, MA  — On April 13, 2016, the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA) and the Victim and Witness Assistance Board (VWAB) will honor individuals who have made notable contributions to advancing victim rights and services and make a difference in the lives of victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Massachusetts. Lysetta Hurge‐Putnam, Executive Director of Independence House, Inc., will be presented with the GERARD D. DOWNING LEADERSHIP AWARD. The 2016 Victim Rights Month Award Ceremony will be held at the Massachusetts State House. The ceremony is a precursor to the 2016 Victim Rights Conference to be held later on April 22nd at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston.

The Gerard D. Downing Leadership Award is a prestigious honor for an agency leader, public or private, who has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to advancing the rights of crime victims and is recognized by his or her colleagues for their efforts in advancing victim rights. Last year’s recipient of the 2015 Gerard D. Downing Leadership Award was former Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Lysetta has been a strong advocate for public policy which is responsive to the needs of domestic and sexual violence survivors. She has served as an appointed commissioner to the Governor’s Commission on Sexual and Domestic Violence in both the Romney and Patrick administrations; has served in numerous advisory roles on issues pertaining to domestic and sexual violence in Massachusetts and has testified as an expert witness for the prosecution. Lysetta has also been honored in past years with awards including the Barnstable County Human Rights Commission Cornerstone Award; the Unsung Heroine Award by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women; and is the 2015 recipient of the Eastern Bank Community Advocacy Award.

Lysetta shares the announcement of the honor of the Gerard D. Downing Leadership Award along with the announcement of her recent appointment to Jane Doe, Inc.’s Board of Directors as President‐elect. Jane Doe, Inc., is the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. Lysetta will begin her seat as Board President in November of 2016 when the existing Board president completes her term, and remains currently as an active Board member also serving on the Jane Doe finance committee.

The mission of Independence House is to help all domestic violence and sexual assault victims, survivors and their children by creating opportunities to find safety and become empowered through crisis intervention, advocacy, counseling, referral, outreach, prevention, education and inspiring change in our community.

To learn more about Independence House and its programs and services, please visit

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